Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How many did you get?

"Tell us one where you kicked ass, Sarge"

"Yeah, one where everything went right!"

"Like most of these stories, I was at festival. I can't recall which one. There were three points that had to be held, and it was a resurrection battle. They were in a line, and the res point was near the bottom of the slope.

So people being people, there was a big scrum at the lazy point, a medium tussle at the mid point, and very little going on at the top point. After being bundled out, I looked around for someone to work with, and found Bain. Now Sir Bain, but at that point he was just one of the grunts. We looked at it all, and decided to secure the top point for our side.

We pushed off the single who was contesting it. Down the bottom, our side was doing well, and the opposition were letting us have a breather at the top. Out of the rumble, a group of opposition formed up, with the intent of taking the top flag from us. Seven of them. Seven on two. Interesting. Fun.

We stayed on the flag and watched them approach. I had a shield, and Bain had a Glaive. They seemed to be five shield and two polearms. In a shield wall. Loosely formed, and no talk from them. That was good - no talk meant no commander. As they approached, we fell back from the flag, and they split their wall. At this point, I pounced, hit the right split of the wall hard and then went screaming around to smack down the polearm. Bain has good feet, and spun wide and kept the opposite tail of the wall off me.

Combat like this is BUSY. There is a lot going on, it's happening all at once. Sometimes it is all just a mess of blurs. Sometimes, you get that 'slow motion' and you see everything. Sometimes, you get what I call 'the red mist' and you are just going on instinct. You are ticking off the stuff you have to do, avoiding threats before they are there, guessing what your opponents will do. You are generally being so busy doing it that your brain empties, your vision 'turns down the display resolution' and just gives you snapshots of action that you act on, and what you see actually is red. I guess it has something to do with blood and brain capacity - you are calling on every part of your body at once, so it just gives your vision the bare minimum.

So the red mist comes down, and I get to, and I fight and block and twist and turn and leap and spin, and suddenly I take guard with nothing incoming, and the enemy are dead at my feet or have slumped off. I relax out and look behind to Bain. He has a fully meshed helmet, but Bain has one of those 'full body' combat grins that means that I can tell that he is grinning like an idiot after that effort.

Another part of the 'red mist', and a general part of SCA warfare, is that your opponets call the shots on their honour. So you hit them, they decide. If they decide no, you hit them again harder, according to a pre-define set of standards. Also, you hit someone, and sometimes they take a moment to register the blow, by which time you are hitting them again to be sure, and harder."

"When in doubt, fall over"

"Fucking aye! Otherwise the next one is coming in twice as hard, and if you are a bit doughy like me, the third one, while I'm still sitting there going 'wonder if that was good!' "

"Very good, Kitten. So I'm looking at Bain and his fool grin, and get curious about who got what. being so damn busy, I wasn't sure how many I had tagged, and how many were his. 'How many did you get, Bain?' The beaming intensity of his body grin increased, as he gleefully admitted 'None'.

Gobsmacked. The best combat experiences always have that moment. The bit where what had just happened dropped your perceptions, mixed them around like pudding, and an impartial observer correlates the score. Somewhere in there Bain and I had faced seven to two odds, we won, and he never laid pointy bit on any of them. Seven kills. To this day, it still counts as my best against the odds confirmed kills in one action."


  1. mental note: bart + stick = dangerous. use considerable care.

  2. As you know, in a civilian situation, attacking me with a stick would be the best thing. I would be quite distracted thinking of a way to bring the situation to a close without sticks :)

    As you can imagine 'medievalist maims assailants with sword' type headlines are the last thing we need.